This accessible and erudite catalogue was based on a traveling exhibition first held at the Albany Museum in Grahamstown in July 2015 as part of the town's National Arts Festival. The first (and most substantial) part of the catalogue focuses on thirty-eight of the sixty drawings of the War of the Axe (1846–1847) produced by Charles Bell, a surveyor for the British administration at the Cape Colony and a self-taught artist. As Godby argues, this collection of pen and wash drawings form an “extraordinarily extensive record” of this landmark conflict in South African history. Indeed, colonial observers considered the drawings a veracious and authoritative account of the conflict—so much so that the Duke of Wellington consulted the drawings before giving a report to the House of Lords on the conduct of the war. However, as Godby illustrates, Bell's interpretation of the war was in fact highly partial, and his drawings...
Battleground: Charles Bell's Drawings of the War of the Axe, 1846, in Historical Context and in Relation to Recent Representations of the Frontier/Wars of Dispossession
Battleground: Charles Bell's Drawings of the War of the Axe, 1846, in Historical Context and in Relation to Recent Representations of the Frontier/Wars of Dispossession. African Arts 2017; 50 (2): 95–96. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/AFAR_r_00351
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